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6 Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider About Your Heart Health

February 14, 2013

Heart HealthOn today, when everyone is swapping heart-shaped candies, we encourage everyone to also think of your other heart: the physical one. February is Heart Health Awareness Month, and for preeclampsia survivors, it is important to understand your risks.

Have you checked your heart health lately?

If you’re a new mom, your own heart health may be the furthest thing from your mind, but if you’re a preeclampsia survivor, it’s something you and your physician should discuss. Why? Because research has shown that preeclampsia may help predict potential future heart disease.

Experts suggest 6 questions you should ask your healthcare provider about pregnancy complications and heart disease:

  1. I had high blood pressure during pregnancy. Are there steps I should be taking now to monitor my heart health?
  2. I had a fetal growth restriction complication or delivered a preterm baby. What should I be doing for my best cardiovascular health?
  3. What risk factors (unrelated to pregnancy) do I have for cardiovascular disease, such as diet, family history, etc.?
  4. Do any of my test results indicate risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol?
  5. Do my overall risk factors or risk factors related to pregnancy suggest that I should be referred to a cardiologist?
  6. Are there lifestyle or medication changes that would benefit my heart health?

A good number of preeclampsia survivors report difficulty getting their blood pressure to return to normal and may need, even temporary, medications to normalize their BP.  However, without solid evidence for what post-preeclampsia follow up care should include, what should you do? Experts in the field have helped us develop these common sense guidelines to reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Eat a heart healthy diet and get regular exercise… for instance, join a local Promise Walk!
  • Stay at a healthy weight, specifically a BMI of 25 or less.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Talk with your doctor about your specific family health history, your pregnancy history and the benefits of taking low dose aspirin.
  • Know your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose – and ensure these stay in the healthy range.

For more information about heart health risk, check out the Preeclampsia Foundation’s longer heart health article.

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